Polyunsaturated fat

When it comes to nutrition, there is no discussion that can be complete without a passing reference to polyunsaturated fat, or polyunsaturated fatty acids. Its carries a significantly lower melting point than other much higher saturated fats like butter, lard and ghee, ensuring it stays liquid even at low temperatures, while the others solidify at room temperatures. This ability is its trump card in nutritional health and has experts extolling its virtues.

Types of polyunsaturated fatty acids include:

Methylene-Interrupted Polyenes

  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Omega 6 fatty acids
  • Omega 9 fatty acids

Conjugated fatty acids

Other Polyunsaturates such as Pinolenic acids and Podocarpic acids.

The biological effects of the ?-3 and ?-6 fatty acids are mostly an outcome of their mutual interactions.

What is the effect of dietary fatty acid on human metabolism?

Fatty acids may be oxidized for energy, incorporated into cell membranes, utilized for synthesis of biologically active compounds or deposited into adipose tissue to provide an energy reserve. The essential fatty acids are long chain (18 carbons), polyunsaturated, with omega-6 and omega-3 double bonds, and with hydrogens around the double bonds in the cis configuration.

Research says “saturated fat is preferentially incorporated into adipose tissue stores”(yes, saturated fat can make you fat) as absence of double bonds allows a higher energy yield per carbon than what the body gets from oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids. Simply speaking, our body gets more energy when it “spends” saturated fat, and prefers to build it as fatty reserves in adipose tissue stores for use on demand.

Polyunsaturated fats on the other hand are deposited in the brain because the “bending” in these fatty acids allow for greater membrane fluidity that makes the brain healthy.

Can polyunsaturated fats cause cancer?

Polyunsaturated fats have a high tendency to oxide that increases the risk of spread of cancer if patients consume it in large quantities. Another key contributing factor suspected is the presence of linoleic acid which causes increasing membrane phase separation in cells.

Which foods are rich in polyunsaturated fats?

Health benefits of polyunsaturated fats can be benefited by eating nuts, cheese, seeds, fish, algae, leafy greens, and krill. You should typically choose whole food sources as processing and heating are known to damage polyunsaturated fats.

What is the effect of dietary fatty acid on the brain?

Highly excitable membranes in brain cells and nervous tissue are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids with 20 or more carbons because the bending in these fatty acids allows for greater membrane fluidity. Saturated fatty acids on the other hand carry rigid molecules and contribute to membrane rigidity. This essentially means that polyunsaturated fats are better since they keep the brain membrane supple and fluid.

It is interesting to note the effect dietary fatty acids have on cell function through effects on membrane properties.

Does replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats cut the risk of heart disease?

Increasing the intake of polyunsaturated fats as a replacement for saturated fats could significantly reduce the rate of heart attacks and cardiac deaths.

Is polyunsaturated fat good for me?

Does intake of polyunsaturated fatty acid reduce the risk of sclerosis?